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5 Holiday Brain Tips

Wrapping gifts in pajamas

Your brain governs literally everything you do. Well, at least we hope so! Some of us tend to get a little stressed out with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Here are a few tips on how to maintain your “noodle” through the rest of the year!

1. Sleep.

Sleep deprivation has been associated with all kinds of events such as the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, and even the Challenger space shuttle crash. It is estimated that, on average, most of us will benefit the most from having 7-8 hours of sleep per day. The important thing is that our brains are allowed to have a least some time experiencing whatis referred to REM sleep, or Rapid Eye Movement sleep. This is the deepest phase of sleep and the phase that scientists believe gives us a feeling of “restedness.”

2. Exercise.

Exercise benefits your brain in a multitude of ways. It increases blood flow and oxygenation, as well as increasing serotonin levels, which gives you a feeling of well-being. I recommend exercising for 20-40 minutes, at least three times per week. If you’re not a “workout-aholic”, your exercise can consist of a brisk walk or jog or some mild weightlifting, so long as you do it safely ☺For those who are more physically fit, 20-30 minutes of HIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is good. There are volumes of literature on this topic that I won’t go into here.

3. Activity.

Our brains NEED to learn. We’ve all heard the phrase “Use it or lose it.” When we learn something new, our brain literally makes new connections between neurons called synapses. Playing brain games like chess, Sudoku, or Words With Friends can increase your brain skills. The simple act of reading is becoming more of a lost art as well. If you are mentally “foggy” in your 40’s, 50’s or even into your 80’s…it’s a sign that your brain could be in trouble.

4. Food.

This is not rocket science. Unfortunately, oneof the hardest things to avoid is the “Standard American Diet.” It’s high calorie, nutrient deficient, bad fat, high salt and refined carbohydrate features are the perfect recipe for a messing up our brains and bodies. It has truly become a global crisis. Do a google search for “Low glycemic index foods” and choose as many foods to eat from this category as possible. Minimize your consumption of the white poisons: Salt, Sugar, White bread & white rice. Choose organic fruits and vegetables whenever you have the option. Grass fed beef is preferred over meal fed beef. Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and a good B complex vitamin is essential for proper brain function as well.

5. Positivity

If we look for the bad, we certainly will find it. If we look for the good, the same is true. One way I’ve found to remain positive is to show gratitude and give thanks on a daily basis for the blessings in my life. Something as simple as telling your spouse, “Honey, I’m really grateful that you helped me clean out the garage yesterday” can be a HUGE step in the right direction. Also realize that, with every challenge or problem, lie the seeds for a greater benefit. Here’s to your brain health during this holiday season!
Now stay away from those sweets! ☺

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